Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS), developed by Dr. Ross Greene is a realistic method for helping parents and children solve the problems that are creating tension in the home. The premise is simple: Challenging behavior occurs when the demand of the environment exceed a kid's capacity to respond adaptively. In other words, and here is the most important message in today's blog,KIDS DO WELL IF THEY CAN. I love this because I hear something totally different from parents and professionals. I usually hear KIDS DO WELL IF THEY WANT TO. Why in the world would kids not want to do well?? The answer given is it's their way of getting attention or it's their way of getting something they want i.e. candy or to avoid something they don't want to do i.e. homework. So parents believe their children are out of control and manipulative because it's the only way they can get what they want or avoid something they don't want to do. I have seen out of control kids. I have seen kids scream, hit, bite, and destroy items because they do or do not want to do something. It's not a pretty sight. I've heard of children crying in their rooms for hours because a parent said no. Some children give their parents the silent treatment and sulk. All these maladaptive behaviors are exhausting and frightening for the child. The child knows these responses will make their parents angry. They know their behavior is "bad". There is no way a child behaves this way because he wants to. He behaves this way because he is lacking the skills to respond in an adaptive manner to the demands being placed on him.
As a parenting counselor I help parents facilitate the CPS method. It's time to look at the child's behavior in a new way. First and foremost I want parents to understand the child's behavior is not the focus of our meetings. The focus of the meetings is to understand the family has to work together to problem solve. I want to help the parents understand what is getting in their child's way, to understand his lagging skills, to view it compassionately, to identify problems the lagging skills have created. Once unsolved problems have been identified by the parents, with my input, then it is time to speak to the child. There are three steps to follow.
- Empathy Step
- Define the problem Step
- Invitation Step
Using these step, the child becomes part of the solution. When we stop viewing our children as problem children, then we are able to proactively and colloboratively problem solve. Not only does this give the child the skills he is lacking, it creates a more positive relationship between the parent and the child. To learn more about this method you can contact me and/or read through Dr. Ross Greene's website.